How to use the Trekker's Friend Lite

Before we begin: caution!

  • When wheeling your pack nothing should touch the ground except the wheels, and nothing should touch the wheels except the ground and the axle. If something like your backpack or the daypack touches the ground or wheels while you are moving you will quickly wear a hole in it.
  • When wheeling your pack ensure that your trekking pole connectors (eg. the quick locks) are done up tightly and the trekking poles are properly tied into the black plastic seats, which are at each end of the top piece of the Trekker’s Friend. If you don’t do this the trekking poles can come apart or separate from the axle while you are walking.

Note: throughout this page, the version 1 harness is used. The version 2 harness differs only slightly – the differences are described here. A very short video on attaching the version 2 harness to the trekking poles is here.

Videos

You can watch the two videos below or look at the pictures and text in the following sections for this information. This page shows version 1 of the harness – for information about version 2

Components of the Trekker’s Friend Lite (harness version 1 shown)
How to assemble and use the Trekker’s Friend Lite (harness version 1 shown)

Text and photos

Components of Trekker’s Friend Lite

As shown above, the Trekker’s Friend Lite is comprised of the following components:

  • A bottom piece, with two shock cords, two side cords with a ‘CamJam’ cord joiner, and a place where the centre strap is attached to. The centre strap joins it to the top piece
  • A top piece, with plastic ends, two shock cords, two side cords with a ‘CamJam’ cord joiner, and a place where the centre cord passes through to join it to the bottom piece
  • A harness, with 2 ‘snap hook’ carabiners to attach it to the straps on the trekking poles
  • 2 wheels, each has two metal bearings, one on each side (not shown in a separate photo above)
  • A daypack, with 2 ‘snap hook’ carabiners to attach it to the bottom piece
  • Small parts as follows:
    • 2 ‘R-clips’ (one spare is provided)
    • 4 thick white plastic washers (two spares are provided)
    • One cord with a large ‘CamJam’ fastener used to attach the daypack to the backpack.

If your Trekker’s Friend uses straps and plastic clips instead of cords with ‘CamJam’ cord joiners, then you have a Trekker’s Friend Classic and should follow the instructions here instead.


How to assemble and use the Trekker’s Friend Lite

Step 1. Attach the Trekker’s Friend to your backpack

You should only need to do this once, at the start of your walk. Then detach it at the end of the walk. Adjust the straps as necessary to access the items in the bag and to cater for your load as it changes.

Attach the top piece to your backpack

Attach the top piece to your backpack by sliding it between the backpack’s shoulder straps and the straps that attach your shoulder straps to the backpack. Do one side first, then the other.

Join the two top piece side cords using the attached ‘CamJam’ fastener across the top of the straps that attach the shoulder straps to the backpack.

As shown in the photo:

  • The two channels on the ends of the top piece should slope outwards at the top and they should face your back when you are carrying the backpack
  • The red ‘R’ should be on top and on your right when you are carrying the backpack
  • The blue ‘L’ should be on top and on your left when you are carrying the backpack.
Attach the bottom piece to your backpack

Place the bottom piece under your backpack, close to where your back will be as follows:

As shown in the photo:

  • The keyhole-shaped holes on the trekking pole connectors should face upwards when you are carrying the backpack
  • The red ‘R’ should be on top and on your right when you are carrying the backpack
  • The blue ‘L’ should be on top and on your left when you are carrying the backpack.

Join the side cords from the bottom piece to each other using the supplied ‘camjam’ cord joiner across the top of your backpack to hold the bottom piece in place. The cords should join under the top pocket of the backpack, as shown.

The side cords should go under any straps your backpack has on its sides.

Then run the centre cord around the centre of the backpack as shown. It should go through a hole in the top piece and over the bottom piece and join at the back of the backpack using a ‘camjam’ cord joiner.

If possible, it should go under the top pocket of the backpack. The design of some backpacks does not allow this – if this is the case, it should go over the top pocket.

The centre cord should go through and under the backpack’s hand grip, which most backpacks have above the shoulder straps.

Attach the wheels to the axle

First place a plastic washer on the axle.

Then place a wheel on the axle.

Then put a second washer on the axle.

Then put an R-clip through the hole on the end of the axle.

Attach both wheels in the same way.


Step 2: If you are going to carry your backpack…

This is the point to return to when you are switching between carrying and wheeling.

At this point you need to decide whether you are going to carry your backpack or wheel your backpack.

If you are going to carry it you will want to ensure that the loops on the bottom piece are not catching on bushes etc as you walk past. Prepare the shock cords attached to the bottom piece as shown in the photo.

Then pass the bottom piece shock cords around the opposite trekking pole attachment then back, putting the loop over the nearest trekking pole attachment.


Alternate Step 2: If, instead, you are going to wheel the backpack…

To wheel your backpack, insert the bases of your trekking poles into the trekking pole attachments on the bottom piece. You will need to cross them diagonally, inserting them both at the same time.

The wide parts at the bottom of the trekking poles should go through the large parts of the keyhole-shaped holes on the top of the trekking pole attachments.

Then straighten the poles by uncrossing them, so that they are almost parallel, and align them with the indents at each end of the top piece. This will lock the poles into place at the trekking pole connectors on the axle.

Put the backpack shoulder straps behind the trekking poles and use the top piece shock cords to tie the trekking poles in place. Do this by winding several times around the trekking pole/top piece then snapping the loop on the end of the shock cord over the end of the top piece. Do each trekking pole in the same way.

Then use the bottom piece shock cords to tie the waist belt out of the way.

Take each shock cord across the waist belt, then behind the opposite trekking pole. Then bring it down and slip the loop on its end over the base of that trekking pole.

Put on the harness. It has two shoulder straps and a waist strap.

Note: throughout this page, the version 1 harness is used. The version 2 harness differs only slightly – the differences are described here.

Attach the strap of the trekking pole to the snap hook carabiner on each side.

Note: throughout this page, the version 1 harness is used. The version 2 harness differs only slightly – the differences are described here. A very short video on attaching the version 2 harness to the trekking poles is here.

Adjust the length of the shoulder straps so that the tops of the trekking poles are at about the height of the palms of you hands.

Note: throughout this page, the version 1 harness is used. The version 2 harness differs only slightly – the differences are described here.

You are now ready to wheel your backpack on the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer.


Optional Step 3: Attach daypack to backpack

Once you are used to using the Trekker’s Friend you’ll find that it’s a great idea to use the daypack it comes in to balance your load and take more weight off your shoulders.

Prepare the daypack attachment cord as shown, passing it and the ‘CamJam’ cord adjuster through the handgrip on your backpack and through the loop on the end of the daypack attachment cord.

Then bring the rest of the daypack attachment cord to the back of your backpack. If possible pass it under the top pocket – otherwise bring it over the top pocket.

Then lay the Trekker’s Friend down so that the ends of your trekking poles are on the ground. The backpack shoulder straps should be towards the ground as well. Put the snap hook carabiners through the loops under the axle to attach the daypack to the axle

The loose end of the daypack attachment cord will have a large ‘CamJam’ cord tightener on it.

Attach the hook on ‘CamJam’ cord tightener to the handgrip on the daypack and use the ‘CamJam’ cord tightener to tighten the cord so as to hold the daypack firmly in place.

You can then put a few kilograms of your gear in the daypack and close it using the shoulder straps. It is a good place to store bottles of water, lunch and a warm top, because it is very easy to access during your walk.

You can both wheel and carry your pack with the daypack in place as shown.

Always ensure that the daypack is attached firmly so that it cannot touch the wheels as they are moving. If it does, the wheels will quickly wear a hole in the daypack.

Using the daypack in this way allows you to balance the weight of the backpack and thereby take most of the weight off your body.